Oystermen Stay Docked Due to Red Tide

Red tide continues to flourish in the bay, which produces 90 percent of the state's oysters.

It's been a week and a half since oystermen received the news of no more tonging on Apalachicola Bay. Tuesday, their boats remained tied down and their spirits low. It's a waiting game until the algae bloom dissipates.

What may look peaceful and picturesque is a sobering sight for oystermen. Apalachicola Bay remains closed.

David Heil of the Division of Aquaculture says, “Nobody [is] working in harvesting, therefore no oysters on the market.”

For a state that relies heavily on seafood sales, the news is tough to swallow. Communities like St. George Island, where rotten fish decorate the landscape, have suffocated from the algae bloom, a natural occurrence even scientists can't prevent.

Still, vacationers aren't skipping a beat, braving the beach despite the fish kill

While the majority of dead fish is cleared from the beach, the smell lingers as well as the insects.

Steven Holbrook, a vacationer, says, “The main thing is the flies and mosquitoes. They'll have you for lunch.”

But for Holbrook and his family, pesky flies and smelly fish aren't enough to keep them away.

Laura Woodall adds, “It hasn't interrupted our time. We've been fishing, use lots of spray and sunscreen, having a good time.”

That good time isn't shared by many oystermen who are out of work. Rep. Will Kendrick says commercial and recreational fishermen are also feeling the negative effects from red tide.

Biologists predict the bay will remain closed for at least another two weeks, maybe more, all because of the red tide.